May 10, 2013 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
The Fenner Town Board has to decide what to do about a building at the corner of Nelson and Peterboro roads that had a garage addition built more than a decade ago without a permit — yet the addition still stands.
A previous agreement between the town and the building owner, Jim Christenson, stated the illegal addition would be removed by June 2008 and Christenson placed $2,000 in an escrow account for the town to use should he renege. The addition was not removed, and the owner recently applied for a variance from the zoning board of appeals to allow him to keep the building as it currently is.
The variance application has brought the issue back to light and before the town board, which must now decide whether to enforce the previous agreement and have the addition removed, or allow the owner to keep the addition but add stipulations about the future use of the building — and probably the imposition of a fine as well.
“This is a town board issue, not a ZBA issue,” Fenner Town Attorney Jim Stokes told the board at its May 8 meeting. “Under the terms of the [previous] stipulation, the addition needs to be removed. If he does not do it, you can use the $2,000 to pay for the removal.”
Stokes said that since the building sits on a county highway, the Madison County Highway Department should be consulted before the board makes a decision, especially since the building is so close to the road it can be considered a public safety issue.
Town Supervisor Russ Carey said he had spoken to Christenson, who said he “doesn’t care what we do, he just wants [the issue] cleared up.”
Councilor Henry Stoker was in favor of the town going in and removing the addition, saying when someone makes an agreement they should be held responsible for that agreement. Other councilors suggested allowing the building addition to remain but creating a new agreement with Christenson that would prohibit the use of two garage doors in the building because of the safety hazard they create being so close to Nelson Road.
The board decided to postpone its decision until its June meeting, and in the meantime to discuss the situation with the county highway department and with Christenson to explore possible resolutions to the issue.
Also at the meeting, Clerk Joanne Buyea said more than 60 town residents have licensed their dogs in the past month, a reaction to the town’s April decision to task the town Dog Control Officer Gary Gardner to conduct a dog enumeration in the town and verify all dogs are licensed and vaccinated. All owners found with unlicensed dogs will have 30 days from the date of Gardner’s visit to get their dogs licensed, or risk the possibility of receiving a court appearance ticket.
The fee to license a dog in the Town of Fenner is $10 for spayed/neutered dogs and $18 for dogs not spayed or neutered. Owners will be charged a $5 late fee for licensing each unlicensed dog at the town office after Gardner issues them a notice. Fenner residents who go to the town office and license their dogs before a visit from Gardner will not be charged the late fee, Buyea said.
Gardner will not begin his town-wide dog census until June 1, so residents have until May 31 to license their dogs and avoid the late fee.
Town officials also have announced that the town assessor has completed the tentative assessment roll for the current year and a copy has been filed with the town clerk, where it may be seen and examined by any interested person until June 5.
Assessor Rhonda Weigand will be available at the town office with the tentative assessment roll from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, May 10, and Saturday, May 11, to discuss the assessments. The assessor has the authority to stipulate to assessment adjustments prior to Grievance Day.
The Board of Assessment Review will meet from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 5, in the town office for the official Grievance Day, to hear and examine all complaints in relation to assessment, on the written application of any aggrieved person.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.